Book Review: The Tyranny of The Night

RATING: 4/5 Stars

OVERVIEW: The Tyranny of the Night is the first book of Glen Cook’s newest series: The Instrumentalities of the Night. It’s a fantasy novel that is targeted toward an adult audience.

PLOT: It tells the tale of how a soldier named Else encounters a minor god, but doesn’t know that it is beyond something he can kill. Ignorant to the strength of the creature, he fights it and wins. This draws him much unwanted attention from the creatures of the Night as they send two of its once-human agents to try to hunt him down.
Else’s success over the minor-god earns him his next mission where he must infiltrate the enemy as a spy under a new identity. After finding work and gleaning information, his skill in battle and knowledge of warfare earns him many promotions. He becomes torn between his new identity and the one he left behind as he finds himself now leading a new crusade against his own people.
However, the Instrumentalities of the Night were determined to get their revenge. After a failed assassination attempt that was thwarted by other dark forces of the Night, the two soultaken hunters finally catch up to Else on the battlefield, hoping to execute the Godslayer. I shall leave the ending to you.

REVIEW: Glen Cook writes in a style that is unlike any other author I’ve ever encountered. It took some getting used to before I fell into his rhythm. In addition, this was another book that didn’t capture my intrigue until 300 pages in, which is where multiple story lines began to entwine. But, once I reached that point in the story, I was hooked and couldn’t put it down.
Since the character Else tries to associate himself with very powerful people (heads of state, patriarchs, etc) to glean the best information he can, this book follows the political side of how wars are declared and fought in that world. As such, this book is overflowing with characters, far too many to remember – though Glen Cook does a good job of reminding the reader who each character is once their name resurfaces within the story. But it was still confusing, and would probably be best understood if this book was read in one sitting. But to add to the confusion, there were multiple lands and cities that were referenced again and again, but unlike many fantasy novels, this one does not have a map of the world. I had no reference-point to understand the layout of the land, which I would have appreciated a lot, considering the vast amount of cities that are mentioned throughout this novel.
Those were my only complaints, so on the flip side, I must say that Cook’s writing is wonderful. Any fan of sword-and-sorcery fantasy would appreciate the fantastical elements that were included throughout this novel (such as rare magical weapons and trinkets, sorcerers that are weakened by silver, and the creatures of the Night that constantly haunt the land). I can honestly say this, “Glen Cook delivered.” Every character had their own unique personality and his descriptions evoked my imagination to conjure every scene in my mind’s eye. I can honestly say, I look forward to completing the series.

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